By Marc Livitz: Manny Pacquiao’s place in the annals of boxing lore is beyond secure, regardless of how his stellar career ends. Although he has failed to register a knockout victory in over four years, the “Pac Man” remains a fan favorite in the United States and a national icon in his home nation of the Philippines. Nevertheless, he does officially show two losses in his last three fights, which at first registered as near culture shock when his seven year, fifteen bout win streak came to an abrupt halt in June of 2012.
His split decision loss to Palm Springs, California native Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley was met with almost universal disdain and disbelief across the sporting world in general and the need for a rematch didn’t exactly beckon for some, as most observers saw the fight as a wash in Pacquiao’s favor.
The two respective combatants went their separate ways. Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO’s) was close to a shot at turning the tables against longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez during their fourth meeting in the ring in December of that same year before he walked straight into a sledgehammer of an overhand right and took a nap on the mat at the end of round six. Some called for the Filipino congressman to retire in the wake of a winless 2012. Instead, Manny took close to a year long break from boxing. He returned last November and scored a twelve round unanimous decision win over Brandon Rios in Macau, S.A.R., China. By contrast, Timothy Bradley was bombarded with unfair criticism after his win over Pacquiao and thereby forced to prove his mettle.
Not many can argue that the fighter from southern California left the task in an unaccomplished position. His hard fought total of twenty four round wars with Ruslan Provodnikov (UD 12) and the aforementioned Marquez (SD 12) in March and October 2013, respectively brought redemption to Bradley’s resume in terms of his toughness and willingness to cut his teeth within the squared circle. However, there are still questions to be answered and the biggest one may be indeed if Manny Pacquiao has the fire left within him to reverse the sentiments of June 2012. He’ll get his chance in a bit more than two week’s time, as the rematch between he and Bradley has been set for April 2012 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
This afternoon, Manny discussed his drive to regain the welterweight title he lost to Bradley on an international media conference call. His longtime trainer, Freddie Roach as well as legendary promoter Bob Arum also fielded questions from the media.
Selected highlights listed below
Bob Arum: “This fight has been eagerly anticipated and a lot has been written about it. The two fighters have been extraordinary dedicated in their preparation. This should be a great night. Manny should give a vintage performance and be one hundred percent ready.”
Freddie Roach: “Training is going very well and he looks very hungry. We have lots of sparring partners and he’ll be ready for whatever Bradley brings to the table.”
On Pacquiao’s Loss to Bradley: “It’s part of life. There’s winning and losing. If we fight the right fight, then we’ll get the win. It was so easy for Manny in the early rounds and then he started going through the motions when he thought he was so far ahead. We won’t do that this time.”
Manny’s Thoughts: “I’m not angry at all with the decision. I respect the officials as always. No one is perfect in this world and sometimes we make mistakes. It’s just part of boxing. I wasn’t bothered by the decision.”
Pacquiao on Going for a Knockout Win against Bradley: “We’re not focusing on the knockout. We’re looking to increase the aggressiveness and throw a lot of punches. I want to prove that I still have the hunger and the killer instinct.”
Bob Arum on how the June 2012 loss affected his fighter: “Manny is a very sensible guy. The decision was two years ago and it’s not going to change. We’ve circulated to both camps the lists of referees and judges for this fight. Hopefully the judges will be from all over the world and we’ll get a fair result if the fight doesn’t end in a knockout.”
Freddie Roach’s Thoughts on Tim Bradley: “He’s a tough guy and he takes good shots. He’s got a good chin. He took a hard shot from Ruslan (Provodnikov) and it looked like he didn’t know where he was. I think Manny can keep the pressure on him. I won’t look to take his aggression away from him. We’ve learned a lot since then and we’re just going to fight our fight. He’s very tough and resilient.”
“He’s always had a lot of heart. He’s always in good shape. He beat two good fighters. We’ll have to take advantage of the moment whenever we get into exchanges I don’t think he has all of the abilities that Manny has, but he’s a good fighter. Knockouts come as a bonus, but our plan is to just beat him every round.”
Pacquiao’s Thoughts on Ringside Judges: “I’m not thinking about the judges at all. I’ll just focus in on my strategy and what we’ve practiced in the gym.”
If boxing conflicts with his religious beliefs: “Religion is a personal thing to me. My career and my job is boxing. Knockouts didn’t come at times and that wasn’t because of my religion.”
Manny’s desire to fight in New York: “I’d love to one day fight in New York, but I’ll leave that up to my promoter. I’m happy to fight wherever the fight may be.”
Bob Arum’s comments on taxes in New York: “Manny is a foreign national. If he fights in New York, then he has to pay multiple taxes. Because he is a foreign national, he cannot take a break on any of those taxes. Nevada has no state taxes. No one can make up the difference between the two states. There are ridiculously high taxes in New York. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has the same problem. State taxes in New York won’t result in a break in Nevada and there’s no dollar for dollar credit. Even the governor of New York has said that the state is chasing away business because of the high taxes.”
“Pac Man” answers Bradley’s comments that he no longer looks to compete: “The more he says that, the more I am inspired. It’s actually good for me, but it won’t be good for him. I’m not angry or disappointed at anything he may have said because it just makes me focus even harder. You could see a lot of his toughness in his last two fights. I’m not concerned, though and I’ll be able to adjust.”